The Flintstones was the first prime-time animated sitcom for adults. Produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions, the show ran on ABC for six years from September 30, 1960 to April 1, 1966. The half-hour segments were set in the town of Bedrock where the inhabitants dealt with modern day concerns in a Stone Age setting.
The show was so similar to the Honeymooners that Jackie Gleason considered suing Hanna-Barbera until his lawyer convinced him removing the popular show was not good for Gleason’s image. The show stayed on the air.
Fred and Wilma Flintstone lived at 323 Cobblestone Lane in Bedrock. Their pets included Dino, a dinosaur who barked like a dog, and Baby Puss, a saber toothed cat. Later they had a daughter named Pebbles.
Their best friends were Barney and Betty Rubble, who later adopted daughter Bamm-Bamm. Their pet was Hoppy, a Hopparoo who was a combination kangaroo and dinosaur.
Two additional characters included Fred’s boss Mr. Slate who owned the stone quarry and Arnold the paperboy, among a number of others characters seen throughout the run of the show.
They lived in a world similar to the mid-twentieth century while using machines powered by pre-historic birds and animals. Much of the show’s humor related to the animals used for technological purposes.
The Jetsons was developed a couple of years after the Flintstones and aired on ABC for one season, September 23, 1962 through March 3, 1963. The show was the first animated space age science fiction sitcom. The family lived a contemporary lifestyle in a futuristic setting as opposed to the Flintstones prehistoric age.
Although the show originally included twenty-four episodes, it ran in syndication for decades. Due to its popularity, further episodes were produced between 1985 and 1987.
The Jetson family included George, his wife Jane, and their children. Judy was a typical teenager and their son Elroy was a preteen genius. Others in the household included Rosie, their robotic maid, and Astro, the family dog.
George worked for Mr. Cosmo Spacely who was owner of Spacely Space Sprokets. He typically worked a three-hour day, three days a week. His primary job was to press a single computer button. The show’s humor often centered on how often he was fired, hired, promoted, and demoted by Mr. Spacely.
The family’s daily life centered on their many labor saving conveniences, and how often they complained about their exhaustingly hard life. They often complained about what they did not have and when something broke down, they struggled with the hardship of living without the convenience to the amusement of the viewing audience.
Both shows were similar to the 1950s and 60s American sitcoms that centered on the usual family issues and typically included a conversational wrap-up and laugh at the end of the show.
Currently both The Flintstones and The Jetsons are showing on the Boomerang Channel. Both shows are available on DVD and video through Amazon.com and other sources.